as published in Conway Daily Sun
Fake it ‘til you make it is an expression that is as old as any success advice available. A quick Google search of the phrase will provide serious arguments about the dangers of faking it, and explanations about how faking works.
I read a book this week The As IF Principle by Richard Wiseman, also the author of The Luck Factor, 59 Seconds and Quirkology. Throughout the book, Wiseman explains interesting psychological studies throughout history. From frontal lobotomies to Freud’s psychoanalysis to Pavlov’s dogs and Watson’s rat mazes, we’ve certainly been on a quite a journey. How do we know what to believe and what not to believe anymore? I believe that we must take 100% responsibility and become our own best advocate for our health, finances, careers, relationships, mental, social and spiritual well-being. As a mostly positive person, I like to assume that the entire Universe is conspiring to make things work out for the best, and they usually do. To help the Universe along, without being too skeptical, I still like to consider multiple sources of information and then trust my gut.
We have learned to be skeptical of studies funded by drug companies with financial motives for instance. Keep in mind that fear is probably a bigger motivator than money for most people. As often as we say, “follow the money” we could say “follow the fear”. Even today, researchers who make new discoveries and announce their modern day version of the “world may be round”, can be outcast from further research projects, cut off from funding, and not allowed to play in any more research games. It is reasonable to expect established researchers and professors to fear the notion that their life’s work might all be wrong and they could be ruled irrelevant by a new researcher’s discovery. Follow the fear and the money and keep an open mind about the “world might be round” far-out possibilities.
So, can you really fake it ‘til you make it? According to Wiseman’s review of dozens of studies, it seems to work on finding love, curing depression, anxiety and phobias, advancing careers and feeling happy. Businesses use the science behind the technique to increase sales, non-profits use it to increase donations, dating services use it to improve Cupid’s success rates and I would imagine that clever researchers could even use it to skew their research findings in their favor!
One study, completed in 2006 at the University of Washington divided two hundred outpatients suffering from major depression, into four groups. Group A received the antidepressant drug paroxetine. Group B was given a placebo. Group C received cognitive therapy, and Group D practiced behavior activation (Act as If/Fake it). Group D progressed far better than the group in cognitive therapy and as well as the group taking the drugs. Numerous other studies show that therapy is just as effective as the drugs for far less cost, with fewer risks and side effects. Unfortunately, no drug company has a profit motive for telling you to fake it. Any attorney would tell me to tell you to consult a professional before joining Group D at your own risk. I have not researched the motives of legal advisors, but I like to think they have my best interests at heart, so I am not telling you how to treat your depression.
Other researchers injected nine depressed women with Botox to cause them to be able to frown less, while still being able to make other facial expressions normally. After two months, none of the women showed any signs of depression. You can try a similar test yourself without drugs. Simply hold a big smile on your face and count to 20 slowly. This has proven over and over again to lift one’s spirits.
Doing the things that a person in love would do, will help a person fall in love. Doing the things that a successful sales person does, dressing the way a successful sales person dresses, speaking, working and investing in oneself the way a successful sales person does is called “acting as if” you were already successful. That is the spirit of “fake it ‘til you make it”.
This principle of acting “as If” is only one part of many success principles that when applied together, can make massive changes in your life. Being honest and authentic is just as important. Successful people are willing to be vulnerable and know to ask for help. That is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and confidence. You can act as if you have confidence, and it helps create confidence. Smiling does make most people feel happier. Acting in a more loving way will help most people feel more lovingly to others. We have discussed in previous articles, (available online at www.klineseminars.com/articles) how affirmations that represent the present-tense, act-as-if, statement of goals as if you have already achieved it – technically, you are lying to yourself. The little critical voices in your head will quickly tell you so. The idea is to create this tension so your brain goes to work finding solutions to making your affirmations true. You will find yourself being more committed, more creative and noticing more solutions to meeting your goals.
I will be hosting a 1-Day Success-a-thon in N. Conway on Jan 16th, in which we will teach a number of success principles that work together to help you reach all of your goals. We will be offering a limited number of scholarships to those who would cannot afford to attend. Visit my website for details.
Please do not take this advice out of context. Being dishonest with others and pretending you do not need more help and support when appropriate will have the opposite effect. The information contained in this article is designed to provide insights into the sorts of techniques being used by psychologists and others. If you believe you have a serious and problematic disorder, depression, anxiety or phobia, consult a professional.